Shane Long’s header seals victory – Photo from fOTOGLIF
A 90th minute penalty for Reading sent this FA Cup 3rd Round replay in to extra time, before a Reading winner ensured that Liverpool would be knocked out of this season’s competition.
It’s a sign of the state the club is in that the pre-match talk was about our brand new free signing. A player Atletico Madrid didn’t even want us to pay for, as Maxi Rodriguez was unveiled as the latest Liverpool player. His first game watching his new club will live long in his memory.
Liverpool started reasonably well with the 4-5-1 formation, and spent a large portion of the opening exchanges in the Reading half. Reading seemed to be playing on the counter attack – a strategy they used for the whole game.
Despite the possession chances were rare. Torres was withdrawn in the first half with a suspected knee injury. David N’gog was sent on but was seeing little service from the wings and an anonymous Steven Gerrard.
Liverpool started to struggle with their passing and movement. At times last year Liverpool looked fast and smooth on the pitch, tonight they were looking laboured.
Just before half time the reds broke the deadlock when a Steven Gerrard cross deflected off Bertrand in to the Reading net.
The captain failed to make it out in the second half. Another injury.
Ironically with a return to a more 4-4-2 formation, Liverpool looked far more dangerous in the second half and a bit of fluidity returned to their passing. However, N’gog and Kuyt, do not add up to a Torres and once again the final delivery wasn’t good enough. Players seeming frightened of putting the ball in to the box, or even shooting when an opportunity arose.
As the half wore on Liverpool began to fade and McAnuff waltzed through the Liverpool midfield and defence and should have done better than put his shot wide.
In the 90th minute Reading were awarded a penalty which they converted to send the game in to extra time.
The tables had turned and now Reading were buoyed.
Gunnarsson nutmegged Insua and sent in the cross that was headed in to the Liverpool net. The reds spent the rest of extra time searching for the equaliser – having two glorious chances that weren’t taken – summing up the night.
More injury problems for the reds and there will be no FA Cup this year. The reds travel to Stoke in need of not just points but a performance. Rodriguez, Riera and Mascherano could all be involved.